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Grenfell Tower bonfire: Five men arrested over video

Grenfell effigy
Image captionThe Justice4Grenfell campaign group said the video “has caused great alarm and distress”

Five men have been arrested on suspicion of a public order offence in connection with a model of Grenfell Tower being burned on a bonfire.

A video shared on social media shows a cardboard model of the tower being set alight by a laughing crowd.

The Metropolitan Police said the men – two aged 49 and the others aged 19, 46 and 55 – handed themselves in at a south London station on Monday night.

Prime Minister Theresa May had called the video “utterly unacceptable”.

The men have been arrested under section 4a of the Public Order Act 1986, which covers intentional “harassment, alarm or distress” caused via the use of “threatening, abusive or insulting” words or signs.

Offences committed on a private residence where a person “had no reason to believe” it would be “heard or seen by a person outside that or any other dwelling” are protected from prosecution under the act.

Racially or religiously aggravated offences under the act carry a prison sentence of up to two years, a fine or both.

A total of 72 people were killed in the devastating blaze at the west London tower block in June 2017.

Moyra Samuels, part of the Justice For Grenfell campaign group, told the BBC the video was “a disgusting attack on vulnerable people”.

She added: “We have no doubt that there are actually decent, generous people across Britain and this actual act doesn’t represent ordinary British people.

“But there is a worrying rise of racism in this country at the moment. And that is concerning, because it’s now starting to impact on us directly, which means that we actually need to be thinking what we do about this, and how we respond to this as a whole.”

Natasha Elcock, from Grenfell United, said: “Not only is it extremely upsetting to survivors and people who lost family, it’s hateful and offensive to everyone that has been affected by the tragic events of that night.”

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